Whether you have to box everything up yourself or you are supremely blessed with professional packers, the more organized you are before moving day the better. Help kids look at moving as an opportunity to get in touch with materialistic tendencies and purge their environment of the inessential. In other words – get rid of the crap!

Tackle Toys First

Looking ahead to your new location can be the perfect excuse to get rid of some things kids may have outgrown but haven’t been ready to part with. Sometimes we even keep old toys just because the neighbor kids like to play with them! Think about the spaces in your new home. Will you have the room to keep every Lego, multi-level doll house, and made to scale train set? Just how many game systems fit in the new entertainment center?

Space limitations can be a great reason to scale down, but the more important thing is to get kids to identify what they really enjoy and let go of the rest. Never take things without their knowledge, but let them make the decision. Tell them how much another child will enjoy playing with their old Tonka truck or reading the books that are too easy for them now. Then take your children with you to donate the toys to the Salvation Army or some other charity.

Organize what’s left over in bins, boxes, or even just areas of rooms. When things eventually get put into boxes, it’ll be that much easier to find things and unpack them at your new home. And because your children are only keeping the things they truly love, they will value them more.

Create a Miscellaneous Box

Try as you will to organize absolutely everything, kids end up with a lot of junk. There are from stickers and cereal box toys from teachers, happy meal trinkets, and party favors galore. While you may be tempted to take a Hefty bag to the whole mess, think again. Do you really want to risk upsetting your child before a move? Better to let kids pare down their personal junk themselves.

Choose a box with a lid and let that be the limit. Tell kids this is their Miscellaneous Box. They may keep anything that fits into it. But once it gets overfilled, they have to choose something to let go before they can add to it.

Cull Down the Closet

Maybe you’ve been guilty of over-hitting the sale rack, or maybe your child happens to be the perfect hand-me-down size of every well-meaning soul in the neighborhood. Blessing or curse, we sometimes accumulate more clothes than we can use. And if you’re holding on to old clothes of your own to pass down to the next child, you can really get into a storage nightmare.

Go through dressers and closets ruthlessly keeping in mind seasons and sizes needed in your new location as well as any difference in climate.

As for things that have been handed down a time or two, take a realistic look at the item and make sure it’s something your child will actually wear. Ask the child and accept her answer. That wool coat your sister paid good money for five years ago is gorgeous, but if your child refuses to wear it lose it. Remember that children may be especially sensitive about what they wear as the new kids at school.

The most important thing is to keep kids involved in the process. Moving is hard enough on the whole family. If you go about it with a positive attitude and let kids help, pre-packing can make the whole process a little easier.